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Bestselling author J.K. Rowling stepped into Britain’s anti-Semitism debate last week when she said in a series of viral tweets that “non-Jews should start shouldering the burden” in the fight against rising anti-Jewish sentiments, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.
The Harry Potter author referenced the abuse Jewish people suffer on social media platforms and condemned semantic arguments of anti-Semites.
“Most UK Jews in my timeline are currently having to field this kind of crap, so perhaps some of us non-Jews should start shouldering the burden,” she wrote in response to a tweet saying, “Because Judaism is a religion and not a race.”
Rowling continued, saying, “Antisemites think this is a clever argument, so tell us, do: Were atheist Jews exempted from wearing the yellow star?”
Rowling retweeting a ‘Basic test for Antisemitism’ formulated by comedian David Schneider, and shared a screenshot of a response she had received, which suggested that “arguing against ant-Ssemitism is extremely culturally insensitive to Muslims.” She described it as “mind-boggling.”
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) 18 April 2018
David Schneider’s original tweet…
Jew or non-Jew, please get into conversations about this. It’s a nuanced issue (mostly: “Jews control the PLP and the world” is, er, less nuanced). But we have to keep talking to lance this boil.
Here again is my attempt at a test for antisemitism. pic.twitter.com/i38g7Tzltp
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) 8 April 2018
The author, who has over 14 million followers on Twitter, rejected all defenses of anti-Semitism, saying the response to anti-Jewish sentiments had to be the same as against any other racism or bigotry.
“Split hairs. Debate etymology. Gloss over the abuse of your fellow citizens by attacking the actions of another country’s government. Would your response to any other form of racism or bigotry be to squirm, deflect or justify?” she asked.
She then tweeted that “The ‘Arabs are semitic too’ hot takes have arrived,” a reference to the argument that Arabs cannot be anti-Semitic per definition because they are Semites too. (The term anti-Semitism was coined by the 19th-century German journalist Wilhelm Marr, who opposed Jewish emancipation and sought to popularize a term that would make Jew-hatred sound more scientific.)
Rowling stated that she was “so sorry” to hear examples of anti-Semitism and replied to a Jewish mother, who had tweeted at the author that her children experience anti-Jewish bullying at school. “Know that you aren’t alone and that a lot of us stand with you,” Rowling reassured her.
The famous author also retweeted a link to the speech given by MP John Mann last week, during a parliamentary debate, denouncing anti-Semitism and highlighting the abuse his family has to endure for his stand.
In 2015, Rowling joined 150 British artists in signing a letter denouncing the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign to isolate Israel.
Allegations of anti-Semitism in Britain, especially in the Labour Party, have grown since Jeremy Corbyn, who once described the Gaza-based terrorist organization Hamas as his “friends,” was elected leader of Britain’s main opposition party in 2015. The Israel Labor Party recently suspended all ties with Corbyn over what they described as “hostility” towards the “Jewish community.”